With thousands of people still stranded by the largest flooding event in the United States since Hurricane Katrina, Direct Relief’s emergency team continues to provide medical assistance for people in need in Colorado.
So far, seven shipments of highly-requested products such as nutritionals, antibiotics, wound care, hand sanitizer, personal hygiene supplies, allergy medicines, and medicines for chronic conditions have been delivered to two health center partners working in three cities – Evans, Loveland, and Fort Lupton.
Though the heavy rains have subsided, health care risks often increase during cleanup. During and after flooding, many people are at high risk of developing skin and eye infections, respiratory infections, and waterborne illnesses.
Direct Relief’s Emergency Response Manager, Andrew MacCalla, is coordinating efforts on the ground near the flood zones and reports that partner Sunrise Montfort Family Clinic in Evans – one of the partners receiving aid shipments – has started seeing people with rashes and respiratory issues.
MacCalla said that as a result of broken sewage systems, Evans is currently on a “no flush-no wash” ordinance, meaning no one in the entire city can use their toilets, showers, or sinks. People have to drive to neighboring town shelter to shower and use mobile bathrooms.
Staff at Salud Family Health Centers – another partner receiving aid – said they expect that many people have lost their critically-needed medications in the midst of flooding and/or evacuation.
In addition to maintaining communication with its local health center network, Direct Relief’s team has also connected with other response agencies, including the Colorado Primary Care Association, Boulder Public Health Department, the Colorado Public Health Department, the health services division of the Red Cross, and Team Rubicon.
Needs are still being assessed, but Direct Relief anticipates continued requests for medicines and supplies for people displaced and living in shelters – particularly hand sanitizer and hygiene items. The team is also readying its stock of tetanus vaccines to protect cleanup workers.
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